Business Oregon Director Chris Harder Stepping Down

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After leading the state’s economic development agency since early 2016, Chris Harder announced this week he is stepping down as director of Business Oregon. Under Harder’s leadership, the agency adopted a new five-year strategic plan to focus the agency’s resources and 70+ programs around a set of key priorities. These priorities are designed to help communities across the state innovate, create quality jobs, upgrade critical infrastructure, and address economic disparities.

“Under Chris’s leadership, Business Oregon has developed a solid foundation for its work to support the economic development needs of communities throughout the state,” said Governor Kate Brown. “I’m looking forward to seeing the work of our team at Business Oregon continue with its focus on rural areas and its efforts to make sure that prosperity is shared by all. As we look for the next leader to take the helm, we will look to build upon the agency’s accomplishments and strategic direction.”

Statement from Chris Harder:

It has been an honor to work for Governor Brown and lead Business Oregon’s many exceptional professionals. I am particularly grateful for Governor Brown’s support of the agency and commitment to our mission to promote a globally competitive, diverse, and inclusive economy.

Business Oregon is focused on furthering economic prosperity for all Oregonians. The agency is on a solid path carrying out this work under its strategic plan. You see that work on the ground in communities all across the state.

The agency’s best asset has always been its dedicated and knowledgeable employees, who are seen as solutions-oriented and are greatly valued in the communities they serve. I am confident that the agency’s exceptional staff, managers, and executive team will accomplish great things in the
years to come.

Harder will remain in Oregon and is taking a job opportunity in the private sector. Harder will continue at Business Oregon through the calendar year as a transition plan is put into place.

Business Oregon, the state’s economic development agency, invests in Oregon businesses, communities, and people to promote a globally competitive, diverse, and inclusive economy. The
agency’s services span rural community development and infrastructure financing; business retention, expansion and recruitment; export promotion and international trade; investments in
industry research and development and entrepreneurship; small business assistance; and support for arts and cultural organizations.

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